• Follow us

Social Media

Facebook co-founder, Chris Hughes, calls for Facebook to be broken up – TechCrunch

The latest call to break up Facebook looks to be the most uncomfortably close to home yet for supreme leader, Mark Zuckerberg.

“Mark’s power is unprecedented and un-American,” writes Chris Hughes, in an explosive op-ed published in The New York Times. “It is time to break up Facebook.”

It’s a long read, but worth indulging for a well-articulated argument against the market-denting power of monopolies, shot through with a smattering of personal anecdotes about Hughes’ experience of Zuckerberg — who he at one point almost paints as “only human,” before shoulder-dropping into a straight thumbs-down that “it’s his very humanity that makes his unchecked power so problematic.”

The tl;dr of Hughes’ argument against Facebook/Zuckerberg being allowed to continue its/his reign of the internet knits together different strands of the techlash zeitgeist, linking Zuckerberg’s absolute influence over Facebook, and therefore over the unprecedented billions of people he can reach and behaviourally reprogram via content-sorting algorithms, to the crushing of innovation and startup competition; the crushing of consumer attention, choice and privacy, all hostage to relentless growth targets and an eyeball-demanding ad business model; the crushing control of speech that Zuckerberg — as Facebook’s absolute monarch — personally commands, with Hughes worrying it’s a power too potent for any one human to wield.

“Mark may never have a boss, but he needs to have some check on his power,” he writes. “The American government needs to do two things: break up Facebook’s monopoly and regulate the company to make it more accountable to the American people.”

His proposed solution is not just a break up of Facebook’s monopoly of online attention by re-separating Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp — to try to reinvigorate a social arena it now inescapably owns — he also calls for U.S. policymakers to step up to the plate and regulate, suggesting an oversight agency is also essential to hold internet companies to account, and pointing to Europe’s recently toughened privacy framework, GDPR, as a start.

“Just breaking up Facebook is not enough. We need a new agency, empowered by Congress to regulate tech companies. Its first mandate should be to protect privacy,” he writes. “A landmark privacy bill in the United States should specify exactly what control Americans have over their digital information, require clearer disclosure to users and provide enough flexibility to the agency to exercise effective oversight over time. The agency should also be charged with guaranteeing basic interoperability across platforms.”

Once an equally fresh-faced co-founder of Facebook alongside his Harvard roommate, Hughes left Facebook in 2007, walking away with what would become eye-watering wealth — writing later that he made half a billion dollars, for three years’ work, off the back of Facebook’s 2012 IPO.

It’s harder to put a value on the relief Hughes must also feel, having exited the scandal-hit behemoth so early on — getting out before early missteps hardened into a cynical parade of privacy, security and trust failures that slowly, gradually yet inexorably snowballed into world-wide scandal — with the 2016 revelations about the extent of Kremlin-backed political disinformation lighting up the dark underbelly of Facebook ads.

Soon after, the Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal shone an equally dim light into similarly murky events on Facebook’s developer platform — some of which appeared to hit even closer to home. (Facebook had its own staff helping to target those political ads, and hired the co-founder of the company that had silently sucked out user data in order to sell manipulative political propaganda services to Cambridge Analytica.) 

It’s clear now that Facebook’s privacy, security and trust failures are no accident; rather, they are chain-linked to Zuckerberg’s leadership, to his strategy of a never-ending sprint for relentless, bottomless growth — via what was once literally a stated policy of “domination.” 

Hughes, meanwhile, dropped out — coming away from Facebook a very rich man and, if not entirely guilt-free given his own founding role in the saga, certainly lacking Zuckerberg-levels of indelible taint.

Though we can still wonder where his well-articulated concern, about how Facebook’s monopoly grip on markets and attention is massively and horribly denting the human universe, has been channelled prior to publishing this NYT op-ed — i.e. before rising alarm over Facebook’s impact on societies, democracies, human rights and people’s mental health scaled so disfiguringly into mainstream view.

Does he, perhaps, regret not penning a critical op-ed before Roger McNamee, an early Zuckerberg advisor with a far less substantial role in the whole drama, got his 20 cents in earlier this year — publishing a critical book, Zucked, which recounts his experience trying and failing to get Zuckerberg to turn the tanker and chart a less collaterally damaging course.

It’s certainly curious it has taken Hughes so long to come out of the woodwork and join the big techlash.

The NYT review of “Zucked” headlined it as an “anti-Facebook manifesto” — a descriptor that could apply equally to Hughes’ op-ed. And in an interview with TC back in February, McNamee — whose more limited connection to Zuckerberg Facebook has sought to dismiss — said of speaking out: “I may be the wrong messenger, but I don’t see a lot of other volunteers at the moment.”

Facebook certainly won’t be able to be so dismissive of Hughes’ critique, as a fellow co-founder. This is one Zuckerberg gut-punch that will both hurt and be harder to dodge. (We’ve asked Facebook if it has a response and will update if so.)

At the same time, hating on Facebook and Zuckerberg is almost fashionable these days — as the company’s consumer- and market-bending power has flipped its fortunes from winning friends and influencing people to turning frenemies into out-and-out haters and politically charged enemies.

Indeed, it’s former mentors, former colleagues, and now, of course, politicians and policymakers leading the charge and calling for the company to be broken up.

Seen from that angle, it’s a shame Hughes waited so long to add his two cents. It does risk him being labelled an opportunist — or, dare we say it, a techlash populist. (Some of us have been banging on about Facebook’s intrusive influence for years, so, er, welcome to the club Chris!) 

Though, equally, he may have been trying to protect his historical friendship with Zuckerberg. (The op-ed begins with Hughes talking about the last time he saw Zuckerberg, in summer 2017, which it’s hard not to read as him tacitly acknowledging there likely won’t be any more personal visits after this bombshell.)

Hughes is also not alone in feeling he needs to bide his time to come out against Zuckerberg.

The WhatsApp founders, who jumped the Facebook mothership last year, kept their heads down and their mouths shut for years, despite a product philosophy that boiled down to “fuck ads” — only finally making their lack of love for their former employer’s ad-fuelled privacy incursions into WhatsApp clear post-exit from the belly of the beast — in their own subtle and not so subtle ways.

In their case they appear to have been mostly waiting for enough shares to vest. (Brian Acton did leave a bunch on the table.) But Hughes has been sitting on his money mountain for years.

Still, at least we finally have his critical — and rarer — account to add to the pile; a Facebook co-founder, who had remained close to Zuckerberg’s orbit, finally reaching for the unfriend button.

Update: In a response statement attributed to its VP of global affairs and communications, Nick Clegg, Facebook said:

Facebook accepts that with success comes accountability. But you don’t enforce accountability by calling for the breakup of a successful American company. Accountability of tech companies can only be achieved through the painstaking introduction of new rules for the internet. That is exactly what Mark Zuckerberg has called for. Indeed, he is meeting Government leaders this week to further that work.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

TechCrunch » Social

On the Internet of Women with Moira Weigel 2019-05-20 12:15:26“Feminism,” the writer and editor Marie Shear famously said in an often-misattributed quote, “is the radical notion that women are p

TikTok owner ByteDance’s long-awaited chat app is here 2019-05-19 22:49:55In WeChat -dominated China, there’s no shortage of challengers out there claiming to create an alternative social experience. The latest creatio

Facebook changes algorithm to promote worthwhile & close 2019-05-16 11:14:04Facebook is updating the News Feed ranking algorithm to incorporate data from surveys about who you say are your closest friends and which links you f

Instagram adds Stories to Explore tab. Here’s how 2019-05-16 09:59:47Instagram’s pivot to Stories continues with an overhaul of Explore designed to let users dig deeper into their niche interests. Stories are now

Instagram is killing Direct, its standalone Snapchat clone 2019-05-16 07:09:53As Facebook pushes ahead with its strategy to consolidate more of the backend of its various apps on to a single platform, it’s also doing a lit

Facebook introduces ‘one strike’ policy to combat abuse 2019-05-15 02:09:27Facebook is cracking down on its live-streaming service after it was used to broadcast the shocking mass shootings that left 50 dead at two Christchur

Twitter launches new search features to stop the 2019-05-14 23:05:26As measles outbreaks in the United States and other countries continue to get worse, Twitter is introducing new search tools meant to help users find

Uber Black launches Quiet Driver Mode 2019-05-14 20:02:46Tired of chatty drivers? Uber is finally giving users its most requested feature: an in-app way to ask for minimal conversation during your ride. The

After year-long lockout, Twitter is finally giving people 2019-05-14 14:29:38Twitter is finally allowing a number of locked users to regain control of their accounts once again. Around a  year after Europe’s new priv

World leaders ask tech giants to tackle toxic 2019-05-14 13:36:25On Wednesday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will ask tech companies to sign a pledge called the Christchurch Call, as The New York Times p

Twitter’s new Developer Labs offers beta access to 2019-05-14 12:59:43Twitter is finally modernizing its core APIs after seven years of stagnation, and it wants early feedback from developers. That’s why today it&r

LinkedIn integrates and updates jobs and hiring platforms, 2019-05-14 08:58:43LinkedIn, the social networking platform for the working world that’s now owned by Microsoft, has leveraged its role as a repository for people&

Mashable

Dell XPS Desktop, Fire TV Stick, Dyson Cyclone 2019-05-22 05:06:27Has your desktop had its days? If you are looking for an upgrade, we have found a great deal on a Dell XSP Tower. It retails for $1000, but there is c

5 password managers on sale 2019-05-22 05:00:00Still filling in passwords manually? Is your fallback password still "PASSWORD" or "NOTMYPASSWORD"? That's basically irrefutable proof you should

Raspberry Pi kits and courses on sale 2019-05-22 05:00:00Here's a toughie: What do a coffee-making robot, a GIF-printing camera, a smartwatch that runs Windows 98, and "Furlexa" — that is, a Furby e

'Game of Thrones' finale defended by 'Seinfeld' star 2019-05-22 00:36:27Game of Thrones is done and dusted, wrapping up its polarising eighth and final season with an equally debated finale. While many have criticised the

Google stored some users' passwords in plain text 2019-05-22 00:29:53Google has revealed it had left some business users' passwords exposed in plain text. In a blog post on Tuesday, the tech giant said it had discovere

Amazon prevails in battle with South American countries 2019-05-21 17:39:12E-commerce giant Amazon has prevailed in its domain name battle with Amazon, the geographic region in South America. The Internet Corporation for Assi

Ben Carson mixed up the real estate term 2019-05-21 17:32:14Can you picture a scenario in which Oreo cookies are discussed at a House Financial Services Committee hearing? No? That's OK. No need to imagine hyp

Dungeons & Dragons Ruined My Life 2019-05-21 17:10:11 Read more...More about Dungeons Dragons, Mashable Reels, Entertainment, and Gaming

Tesla releases DIY guides for Model 3 maintenance 2019-05-21 17:08:02Tesla is embracing the growing demand for consumers to be able to fix stuff themselves by releasing a series of do-it-yourself guides for the Model 3.

Best graduation gifts for him: 50+ gift ideas 2019-05-21 16:29:39Every year, graduation season means a fresh new batch of grads are about to enter full-on adulthood. If you know a guy who is gearing up to walk acros

Kit Harington, Sophie Turner respond to critics of 2019-05-21 16:20:22Game of Thrones actors Kit Harington and Sophie Turner are responding to criticism on the HBO show's ending, defending the hard work the cast and cre

Comcast, a trusted company, wants to monitor you 2019-05-21 16:14:43It looks like you fell down. Someone will be there between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to assist you.  Yes, that's right, everyone's favorite and defini

The Next Web

The future of AI is collaborative 2019-05-21 12:16:28AI is becoming increasingly widespread, affecting all facets of society — even Sonic drive-ins are planning to implement artificial intelligence

The new Honor 20 series has great specs, 2019-05-21 12:10:41It’s a bit of a tough time for Huawei‘s budget sub brand Honor to release its latest flagship phone, but, the show must go on. And, to be

Research reveals surprising relationship between climate change and 2019-05-21 11:04:49Climate change will shape every aspect of human life – often in complex ways. Take the question of deciding how many children to have, for examp

The Roadblocks to European Fintech Expansion 2019-05-21 11:01:15“The US market is vast. There are a lot of consumers in the US that use outdated technologies, and from that perspective we see huge potential h

How the messaging app ‘bthere’ became a sexual 2019-05-21 10:52:05For the ongoing series, Code Word, we’re exploring if — and how — technology can protect individuals against sexual assault and hara

Game of Thrones’ Bronn becomes Master of VeganCoin 2019-05-21 10:18:59Before you read this, beware there might be Game of Thrones spoilers in this piece. The actor that played one of the more Machiavellian characters in

Google searches for how to cancel HBO spiked 2019-05-21 10:06:23BEWARE! If you haven’t finished Game of Thrones yet, there might be some spoilers in here. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Been on the

Dear NY Post, didn’t you learn anything about 2019-05-21 10:05:20It’s that time of the year: NY Post’s in-house cryptocurrency pseudosopher John Crudele has published his annual diatribe against Bitcoin.

TikTok’s owner is reportedly launching a music streaming 2019-05-21 09:45:42Yesterday, Chinese company ByteDance – which owns TikTok, Helo, and Vigo Video – launched a chat app called Flipchat. Now, a new repo

Dutch man conned investors out of $26M with 2019-05-21 08:59:55A man from Apeldoorn, Netherlands has been arrested for fraud and money laundering after convincing over 100 people to invest a total of $26 million i

I’m walking Huawei: here are 4 great Android 2019-05-20 12:08:53Huawei‘s in a spot of bother. Google has suspended its business operations with the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, meaning Huawei no longer ha

Listen, parents, here are 3 reasons you shouldn’t 2019-05-20 11:52:45The use of self-tracking and personal surveillance technologies has grown considerably over the last decade. There are now apps to monitor people&rsqu

Entrepreneur

Study Finds Marijuana Users Have Better Chance of 2019-05-21 14:00:00How cannabis could impact heart health is a major area of study for researchers.

How to Become More Mindful and Make Better 2019-05-21 13:30:00Practice these tips to feel more at peace.

Ecommerce Analytics: 4 Metrics That Are Often Overlooked 2019-05-21 12:00:00Are you keeping track of customer lifetime value and customer acquisition cost? It's high time you did.

How to Create Your First Successful Business Plan 2019-05-21 11:30:00Entrepreneurial expert Chris Haroun uses his patented process to help make your new business plan a reality.

Will Your Product Launch Be a Success? 4 2019-05-21 11:00:00The truth is, most product launches fail for two very simple reasons, both of which you've heard about time and time again.

How to Help Other People Be Successful 2019-05-21 10:30:00This CEO breaks down some of the common challenges a business might face in its early stages.

To Break up the Boys' Club, Ladies, Why 2019-05-21 10:30:00Women in VC roles can't rely on public relations fixes, token nods or the chivalry of their male colleagues. They have to do it themselves.

Sony Just Laid Out Everything There Is to 2019-05-21 10:03:14Expect the PlayStation 4 to stick around for at least three more years.

Here's How Rita Moreno's 'Sweatshop Seamstress' Mother Inspired 2019-05-21 09:37:00The screen icon gave kudos to her mom while accepting the Peabody's Career Achievement Award.

Follow These Strategies to Recruit and Retain Employees 2019-05-21 09:30:00Here are three strategies for recruiting and retaining successful employees.

How to Become the Person Everyone Roots For 2019-05-21 09:00:00Good things don't just happen. They happen to people who hustle for them.

Everything You Need To Know To Pitch An 2019-05-21 09:00:00Asking investors to fund your business is uncomfortable, intimidating, and at times even excruciating. Here's how to make it better, according to And


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.